On Thursday the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) met with key stakeholders from across industry, local government and educational institutions to explore opportunities to accelerate the growth of the Sunshine Coast’s ICT including the cyber security market.

SCBC Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the Business Council — in partnership with RDA Sunshine Coast — had commissioned Minion to deliver a Marketing Sounding Report last year to specifically explore the potential for cyber security to be a major part of the ICT growth capability for the Sunshine Coast region.

“The report identified the region’s existing regional cyber security ‘footprint’ including businesses operating in the market, the talent, geographic markets, solutions and services, the industries and customers serviced, future growth intentions and the strength of brands operating in the region,” said Ms Zubrinich.

“What was evident was that whilst the cyber security footprint was relatively immature at this stage, there was a much stronger footprint in the overall ICT sector. This existing capability in the region is a great platform to invest in targeted actions to stimulate and fast-track growth — provided government, educational institutions and industry collaborate to execute the growth strategy.

“Yesterday’s workshop allowed us to explore the initiatives, partnerships and opportunities to achieve above-organic growth rate in the ICT industry.”

Over 20 industry leaders converged at TAFE including Gavin Keeley, CEO of Search365, a leader in artificial intelligence, advanced search algorithms, machine learning and natural language processing (NLP).

“We have a number of impressive ICT businesses here on the Coast and there is much to be gained from harnessing our strengths and networks to amplify the region’s presence as one of Australia’s fastest growing ICT hubs,” said Mr Keeley.

“Many of us are based on the Coast with an inter-state and/or international customer base, working closely with the likes of brands such as Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and Telstra in delivering state-of-the-art solutions. By coming together as an industry, in partnership with education and government, we can leverage off these opportunities and connections to create a stronger, more resilient ICT industry that encourages ICT talent to learn and earn here on the Sunshine Coast.”

Ms Zubrinich said the establishment of an industry group or association was identified as an important part of the strategy and received strong report from those in the room.

“We have an opportunity to capitalise on our competitive edge when it comes to ICT. The recently connected international broadband submarine cable gives us east Australia’s fastest international connection point to Asia and a landing station within the largest greenfield city development, Maroochydore CBD. Put that together with 5G and the NBN rollout and we have an impressive communications infrastructure on the Coast to support all types of industries and businesses.

“The recent acquisition of the CBD by Walker Corporation, Australia’s largest private, diversified property development company, is also sure to open a number of doors along with and increased commitment to ICT training opportunities at the University of the Sunshine Coast and TAFE Queensland who will play the important role of growing local talent.

“We are also encouraged by Sunshine Coast Council’s support for this strategy as part of their economic development and investment attraction strategies — local government is a very important part of this strategy, as is a commitment to ‘buy local’, both by government and local business.”

Secure Access has been providing technology support to Sunshine Coast businesses for more than two decades and founder Jason Garland said the local business community still largely relied on national brands to provide ICT support.

“We have great capability here on the Sunshine Coast and while we have customers nationally and internationally, we also help many Sunshine Coast businesses use technology to achieve their business goals,” said Mr Garland.

“Technology is at the heart of everything in the world we operate in and Covid-19 further accelerated this with people now being more comfortable with working remotely and not having to have everything under one roof. The ability for ICT companies to call the Sunshine Coast home so that their teams can enjoy the enviable lifestyle we have while servicing local, national and international clients is appealing and with infrastructure like the submarine cable and potential data centres this brings, we are in a very strong position.

“This is about accelerating the growth of an already well-established industry to create more jobs with less impact on our local environment, which is good news for the Sunshine Coast.”

For more information on the Sunshine Coast Business Council and membership enquiries, visit www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.

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The Sunshine Coast Business Council is the leading regional business advocacy group on the Sunshine Coast. It represents approximately 4,000 businesses through its membership, which includes key national and regional industry groups and their members as well as national and regional businesses.

Media contact:

Maya Gurry, Fresh PR & Marketing 0410 109 102 maya@freshprm.com.au